In 1999 at the age of just 13, I discovered a passion for sales. Hi I'm Devin Mullen, owner and founder of Your Jewelry Box. My early years were filled with ideas of entreprenurship. I can remember dreams of starting a red rasberry farm, selling recently picked cherries (that my parents picked) to neighbors, even selling some very un-inspired art of mine to my kind neighbors. I always enjoyed people, and finding a desire that needed filled. My inspiration for jewelry however came one summer during a family trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My mom, as if for punishment, would drag my brother and I along on jewelry shopping trips. One summer in Duck, North Carolina we went into a store called Yesterdays Jewels. The owner, Gary, a retired North Carolina Police Officer had everything I could have dreamed of as a young boy. He had a case with real police badges, how cool! He had a business in a summer destination, and to make it even better, he had a parokeet in store! I thought it seemed like the dream. Over the coming years we would return to Duck, North Carolina and I would bike into town day after day, enjoying chatting with Gary, dreaming of one day buying his business and owning my very own parokeet. Over time I realized how interesting jewelry seemed to me, and Gary encouraged me to consider starting to sell some basic silver chains. He introduced me to my first chain manufacturing company and the rest as they say is history!
I started special order selling gold and silver chains. In those early years I had no inventory, after all I was 13, I couldn't afford anything! I recall asking my parents where I could find women who would be potential jewelry buyers. I enlisted my father to drive me around to bank branch offices where I would introduce myself to the branch managers and ask permission to leave catalogs of chains I sold. Whether they thought I was cute, or they felt bad for me is unknown, but little by little I started recieving orders. Every penny made was set back to invest into the business. There came a point about 6 months in when I wanted to begin to establish my first collection of inventory. My Dad having been in financial investments industry encouraged me to write a business plan. This business plan though very basic was my first plan used to pitch my mom and dad for a loan of $500. It's funny to think that this $500 investment is really where things started to grow from. One client at a time we began increasing out sales. Slowly beginning to inventory some gold chains, expanded into hoop earrings and a few gemstone pieces. Diamonds were still too rich for my blood. I mean I was still only 13!
As I began having more demand for more fine jewelry it became evident to me that people didnt inherintly want to trust a 13 year old with a signifigant purchase! Go figure! With the required permission of my then Junior High School principal I was admitted to a distance study program with the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. I completed my distance education in Jewelry Essentials, Colored Stone Essentials, Colored Stone Grading, Diamond Essentials, Diamond Grading and Identification and completed a laboratory course in Diamond Grading. By 14, I was the youngest certificate holder of the Gemological Institute of America. I continued to grow the inventory of the company through reinvesting any profits along with added investment by my parents.
The business grew through word of mouth, and some strategic sales opportunities with local banks offering incentives to their employees as well as selling through local area hospitals to raise funds for their affiliated not for profit charities. As our inventory grew we began setting up open house sales one or two weekends per month either in church halls or later at the then Altoona, PA Ramada Inn. I continued to grow in my understanding of how the industry worked. I felt that the jewelry industry was one in which many of its members were intrenched in old ways of doing business. Little seemed to change and one generation of owners often did things just like the previous. I valued my new unincumbered view of the industry. I began to see things others jewelers did and vowed to find better, more transparent ways of conducting business.
By 2003 I was 16, and we felt the business was ready for a brick and mortar location. We entered into a lease on a property at 1130 12th avenue Altoona, Pennsylvania. Since I was still in High School when we opened it was time to hire my first team member, enlist my older brothers help and continue to enlist my mom to assist. When we first opened we were only open Wednesday - Saturday. I would leave school at 3pm and work till close Wednesday-Friday. Quickly I discovered we needed to offer in house jewelry repair and restoration services. Since I couldn't yet afford to hire a full time professional jeweler I decided to enroll myself in weekend courses from a jewelers college about 300 miles away. Over a series of months I learned repair skills, diamond setting techniques, casting and more. For a while I utilized these skills. While these skills have forever changed and improved my understanding of jewelry and the restoration process, I have not maintained my proficiency. We were blessed to be able to hire extraordinary, much more experienced jewelers to join our team over the coming years. This allowed us to grow our services component of the business.
I have continued to remain focused on caring for our clients. As I approach 20 years since our inception I am beyond blessed that with my team we have achieved a level of growth and sales volume that very few independent jewelers ever do. Beyond all, our clients are the best in the world. Without the trust of our clients we wouldnt have the opportunity to share in your special moments and celebrations. We look forward to many more years or developing transparancy in the jewelry industry, and helping you to Be Unique, be Extraordinarym, Be You!
So many people have been instrumental over the years, but none so much as my Mom, Anna Marie Mullen(RIP), My Dad, Christopher Mullen, my big brother Michael Mullen, my beautiful wife Kerry, and my mother-in-law(&love) Sharon. These individuals above all others have devoted love sweat and tears to the creation, developpment, and continued improvement of the company and the service we are proud to present to you as the best of the best in the jewelry industry.